Höegh Autoliners Shipping, a subsidiary of Norway-based Höegh Autoliners, has exercised an option to acquire the Höegh Trapper vessel from lessor Ocean Yield for $53.2m.

According to the Norwegian company, three different brokers estimated the vessel’s average market value at $96m at the end of the third quarter.

Claimed to be one of the largest and most environmentally friendly pure car truck carriers (PCTCs) in the world, Höegh Trapper will remain under Höegh Autoliners’ deep-sea network after the ownership transfer.

The 2016-constructed ship, currently on a bareboat charter, has a capacity of 8,500 car equivalent units (CEUs).

It is a ‘sister vessel’ to Höegh Tracer, another leased PCTC that the firm opted to buy back in August.

At present, Höegh Autoliners is working on funding the acquisition.

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The deal is said to support the ‘realisation of additional value gains from the lease options’ as well as lowering cash costs and enabling improved capacity cost control in an overheated charter market. 

Höegh Autoliners CFO Per Øivind Rosmo said: “Höegh Trapper is the fourth bareboat chartered vessel where we declare a purchase option in 2022. By taking direct ownership of the vessel, we demonstrate our commitment to serve and build a long-term relationship with our customers based on a fleet we own and control.

“Bringing home Höegh Trapper means that we will have ownership of all six Horizon class vessels, built at Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry in 2015 and 2016.

“These vessels are among the largest and most fuel-efficient PCTCs sailing the oceans and are, together with the Aurora class vessels under construction, an important part of our ambition to continue to reduce our carbon intensity and our journey towards being carbon neutral by 2040.”

In January, China Merchants Heavy Industry (Jiangsu) won a contract from Höegh Autoliners for the construction of four multi-fuel and zero-carbon ready Aurora class ships.